Thursday, May 27, 2010

Leadership can be an unpopular business

“Leadership can be an unpopular business. The art of leadership is saying no, not yes. It is very easy to say yes.”

Tony Blair (former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom)

The above quote from Tony Blair led me to the theme for this week’s edition. Throughout my career in leadership I have had to accept this one inescapable truth: 

I will not always make decisions that will make me universally popular. However, make them I must!

Here is the conundrum: When leading, we must always put our followers first; we must always consider what is best for our team members; we must always be servant leaders. However, in the course of business, as leaders we will occasionally find ourselves in a position where in order to do the best for our team members we must first make hard decisions that are not readily understood or agreed to by them. We must not allow our resolve to weaken because of pressure brought by those who would have us bend to their wishes! 

We are the leaders; we must lead; we must not follow; we must be strong.

 In order to lead, you must maintain the integrity of your team.Without the team, you will have no one to lead. However, you must also do everything you can to maintain the profitability of your division and your company. To that end you will invariably have to make unpopular decisions. In fact, if you are in a leadership position and never find yourself making unpopular decisions, you are probably not doing a very good job for your company or your team.

"How can I do both?" you might ask. You must clearly and concisely communicate the reasons for your difficult or unpopular decisions to your team. Only through open, honest, timely communication can you gain the trust from your team that will carry you through a myriad of difficult decisions. 

Never lie or mislead and always disseminate difficult information to the team as soon as you can. 

Because of your strong communication efforts, most will understand that you are doing the best thing for the team and they will shower you with trust-in-the-moment and trust-enduring.

"But, I am afraid they won’t like me!" you might say. Please accept that a leader who is indecisive, inconsistent, dishonest, misleading, or a pushover will be much more unpopular than one who is open, honest, decisive, and courageous. Team members need to know that they have a strong leader; a leader they can trust to fight for their best interests. By the way, please don’t confuse strength with gruffness or rudeness. Difficult information must be shared cordially; not dictated brusquely. 

Don’t be afraid; powerful servant leadership will make you popular beyond your wildest dreams!

Great Leadership is hard work! Are you up to it?

By the way: If you are not in a designated leadership position, remember that we are all leaders from time to time. Feel free to pass this article along to your managers...they might thank you!

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl

My website: http://www.dlionline.ca/

My email: wkehl@dlionline.ca

Friday, May 21, 2010

If you fall, get up!

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do. - Confucius

Confucius was a very wise man indeed. Consider the quote above and then think about your own life. Have you ever failed at anything? I hope you answered YES because surely we have all failed at something from time to time. Now think about something that you failed to succeed at or simply could not excel in ten years ago. Did your life come to an end? Are you still suffering from embarrassment or lost of status because of it? Does it keep you from going to sleep at night? Or, has it simply been forgotten like so many of those little stumbles that we all experience during the course of a lifetime.

Too many people spend their entire lives fretting, fussing, and worrying about making mistakes. They are debilitated by the need to do everything right, (read: perfectionist.) Even those who are not true perfectionists, fear the wrath of their employers, parents, family, or friends, should they do something wrong or not measure up somehow. The fear of failure or “falling” as Confucius calls it prevents them from living a relaxed, contented life. Their activities become laboured and they live in a world of continuous nervousness and sensitivity to the slightest of affronts or put-downs. They are the “stress-cases” and the “overly-sensitive ones” that we hear about so often in the twenty-first century.

As the wise-one said, “If you fall...get up!” Put your failures behind you and move on to a better day. Remember that your failure is much more significant to you than it is to anyone else. People are generally not staring at you or talking about you behind your back because of a few minor mistakes in the course of a lifetime. Most people are oblivious to most of your failures and while you are worrying about a past you cannot change, they have long-since forgotten all about you and moved on to other things. The only one who really cares about your failures is you!

Almost anything can be redone, repaired or reactivated. If it didn’t work today, it might work tomorrow. Turn your failures into successes by trying a new approach, asking for help or doing something completely different. Erase the sting of a failure by being successful at something else. Instead of moping around and feeling sorry for yourself...get up, dust yourself off, and aggressively attack another project.

You have probably heard the expressions, nothing succeeds like success and there is no better revenge than success, so the next time you fail, think of it not as a failure but as a minor setback. When you immediately start again, your drive and determination will be noticed by others and amazingly, your failure will be seen not as a failure at all, but as a catalyst for your success. It will become your glory... Confucius had it right!

All the Best!

Wayne Kehl

Friday, May 14, 2010

Argue for your limitations?

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours.”
...Richard Bach

The author of “Jonathon Livingston Seagull”, Richard Bach knew something about the incredible power of human thought when he wrote those words. The power of positive thinking is often discussed and written about, but what about the power of negative thinking? I believe that human negativity is even more powerful than any power possessed by positive human spirit.

 Everyone cannot say, “I will be a millionaire in ten years”...and actually make it happen. However, anyone can say, “I will be broke in one year” and then go out and make it happen. Just as successful people gain success through positive thinking and belief in themselves, unsuccessful people fail through negative thinking and a belief that they are bound to fail. Negative energy should be avoided at all costs because it can cost you everything.

When you say, “I will never be able to do that”; or, “I will never be as rich as her”; or, “He will always be better than me,” you are inadvertently writing the words of the story of your destiny...You are giving up your future just as you are giving up on your dreams. When you say, “I guess I may have bitten off more than I can chew,”...try chewing a little longer...try working a little harder...try to make your dreams come true.

 The worst form of arguing for your limitations comes from people who portray or fabricate limitations to avoid being held accountable. Some people use expressions like, “I am no good at that,” or “That’s not my cup of tea” as excuses for their own lack of conviction. They choose to opt out of an activity or a responsibility because they can’t be bothered to put the time in to try. By saying those things they have created an “out” or an excuse for future failures. When failure occurs, they can easily say, “I told you I was no good at that!” They believe that an advance declaration of incompetence will shift the blame to someone else, but really all it does is prove that they have completely taken ownership of their limitations and are destined for a life of failure.

The next time you have doubt in yourself, push through your fears and do not tell the world that you believe you will be bad at whatever is vexing you. The next time you are faced with a challenge that seems beyond anything you ever dreamed that you might have to take on, tackle the challenge with everything you have got. Learn to be innovative and find a way to get it done. Do not allow negative thinking to ruin your life.

The most successful people I know have an indomitable belief in themselves and their ability to succeed. If they cannot do what they need to do by themselves, they get help. If they cannot get to the other side of the mountain by going around it, they climb over it. When faced with a challenge, they immediately begin to think of solutions. Whenever they think of progress or greater success, they become even more optimistic than usual and begin to visualize how their life will change for the better because of it. They never give up and they never say “I can’t.”

 Richard Bach said, “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours.” I say, “Argue for your success and surely you will succeed!”

 All the Best
 Wayne Kehl

By the way, don’t forget to order a copy of my new book, “A Good Man’sLife”here:

I also have another new book out entitled, “A Man on Women”, Order here: 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

We should all live for others

Life becomes harder for us when we live for others, but it also becomes richer and happier.”

Albert Schweitzer

Albert Schweitzer was perhaps, one of the greatest minds of the twentieth century. He lived from 1875 to 1965. During the course of his long life he was a doctor, an academic, a philosopher, a musician, and a humanitarian. In 1952 he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his philosophy of “Reverence for Life” which is is a translation of the German phrase: "Ehrfurcht vor dem Leben" (more accurately translated as: "to be in awe of the mystery of life"). His accomplishments are far too many and too great to be mentioned here, but his philosophy of life should be understood and revered by us all.

If we can accept the fact that as human animals we must live in the company of other humans and that without other humans on the planet, we will not survive; we can move much further toward acceptance of others; and as the great Schweitzer said, “Live richer and happier lives by living for others.” I have taken a holistic approach to this quote and suggest that we should all live our lives for everyone else on the planet. The harder part that Schweitzer speaks of is that to live for others, we must overcome our natural human desire to put ourselves first and to fight back whenever we feel an injustice has been enacted against us. Acting in a selfless manner every day is one of the hardest things for humans to do.

Relationships amongst people are difficult but they are oh, so valuable and rewarding. When we become annoyed, perplexed or angry with another person we set into motion a series of events that will make us unhappy. Our negative emotions will often be followed by negative words and actions which will be followed by a negative response from the person we have brought our problem to. Very likely, the person that is the object of our vexations will react negatively which will cause them to respond in kind. Next, they will seek retribution from us while bringing other people into the cloud of negativity that we created. This never-ending circle of negativity is so commonplace on planet earth that it is actually considered the norm by otherwise intelligent, rational and sane human beings. Amazing isn’t it!

Human beings are imperfect and we all live in an imperfect world but if we choose to accept the world and the people on it for what they are, while living to be of service and solace to others, our lives will be gloriously enriched. Instead of living for ourselves and taking things that others do personally, we will serve ourselves and others well by taking a pause before a negative reaction and asking ourselves, “Is it worth it? Or...will negativity make the situation better?” When you are able to answer NO to both of those questions you will be on the pathway to living for others and your life will be on the verge of being richer and happier.

Here is the best part: If you make a conscious effort to live for others, everyone you meet will make a conscious effort to live for you! Your circle of well-wishers and loved ones will grow and your life will become free of stress, fear, and anger. What could be better?

All the Best

Wayne Kehl